ND Democrats Want Unemployment Insurance For Locked Out Union Workers
A group of North Dakota Democrats, lead by state Senator Tim Mathern, have proposed legislation for the upcoming special session that would extend unemployment benefits to locked out union workers. A copy of the bill, as proposed, is embedded below.
Thinking of this as insurance for unemployed workers is wrong. That’s not what this is. In reality, it’s a subsidy for locked out workers. By allowing these workers to collect unemployment benefits after they reject a contract, the taxpayers (specifically the businesses that pay the unemployment taxes) are basically subsidizing their contract dispute.
Unemployment benefits exist as a safety net for people after they lose their job and before they find their next one. They don’t exist to subsidize protracted labor disputes. If the unions want to take care of their workers during these lockouts or strikes let them use some of the millions they collect in dues to pay for it.
Of course, that’s money they usually contribute to Demcorats like the ones sponsoring this bill, so I guess they can’t do that.
Really, it’s not even appropriate to introduce this sort of legislation in a special session that is, by definition, supposed to be limited in scope. This session was called to address redistricting issues. It will also address flooding issues, which is appropriate, and the Sioux nickname opponents will likely force a bill in too. But other more routine business really ought to be left to the regular session.
I’d be surprised if this bill were even let in. It shouldn’t be, if it is.
UPDATE: Here’s Senator Mathern’s email to legislators announcing the bill. Note that House Majority Leader Al Carlson said it must go through the Delayed Bills Committee. That’s a tough committee to get through, which again makes me think the bill probably won’t even get a vote.
Senators and Representatives,
Attached find a bill draft clarifying that persons in a lockout situation, as opposed to a strike, would be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. I have discussed this with Job Service and Attorney General office officials in hopes they could have done this before asking for this bill draft. In summary I believe there are persons who at no control of their own are unemployed and need these benefits. In lieu of these benefits their families need social service assistance programs which are a cost to general government. Eligibility for unemployment benefits for locked out workers until they find other work is provided for in Minnesota and other states.
Attached find the bill draft which I have discussed with Chairman of Legislative Management Rep. Carlson, he suggested I get it out to gauge support as it will come to the Delayed Bills Committee. Please review it and if any of you would like to sponsor or cosponsor please so indicate. My hope is there would be 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats on the bill. I do not need to be on the bill if that is a preference on any ones part.
I see it as important to clarify this do matter what the American Crystal outcome may be. By this email I am also giving permission to Legislative Council release any notes or bill draft information about this topic to anyone. I understand that there are persons calling legislators about this and hope having a copy of the bill will be helpful to you.
Thank you for your consideration.